Kathy Richardson, a resident of Roy, was recently recognized as the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) Instructor of the Year for Washington state, while one of her horses was also nominated for an honor.
Richardson became a horse agility trainer in 2014. She has been a CHA certified member in English/Western since 2008, and remains active in the American Horse Council’s “Time to Ride” program. She also maintains her own riding program at Rusty Bar Ranch in Roy.
In November, Richardson’s mini-horse Ghost was nominated for Lesson Horse of the Year. Ghost competes in horse agility and has worked its way to the advanced level of competition.
“My students actually nominated Ghost,” said Richardson.
At first, she was reluctant to attend the awards event in Fort Worth, Texas, but once Richardson learned that Ghost was named a finalist, she was destined to be Texas-bound.
“At the award show, one of the first pictures for lesson horse of the year was Ghost,” Richardson said. “Sadly, these awards are for all about riding and Ghost was specialized in agility.”
Despite not taking home the award, Richardson said it was still an honor to be mentioned as finalists.
Ghost, according to Richardson, has had quite the story of perseverance. The horse’s mother was rescued by Pierce County Animal Control when the animal was pregnant, along with several other horses. Some of the horses that were seized didn’t survive due to their poor health. After giving birth to Ghost, the mother experienced problems with her health which required surgery, but later died.
This led Richardson to adopt the young horse, which she raised herself. Playing the role of mother horse, Richardson bottle fed Ghost and experienced many complications along the way.
“They have the attention span of a gnat,” Richardson said. “It was a challenge feeding him.”
While constantly having to battle Ghost in order to feed him, another challenge arose. Since Ghost wasn’t being raised by horses, the animal wasn’t picking up on “how to be a horse,” Richardson said.
That’s when Richardson turned to another one of her mini-horses.
“At the time, we had another miniature horse named Pearl and we put him in with Ghost, and taught him how to be a proper horse,” she said. “Whether it was helping Ghost grow up mentally or physically, Pearl was there for all of it. I was really proud of my little guy after the rough start he had to his life.”
Richardson has also found success as a trainer. One of her students, 9-year-old Mackenzie, recently took home the International Horse Agility Club Junior Reserve World Championship title.
For more information about Richardson and her Ranch, go online to www.rustybarranch.com.
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